DAY ONE: FAITH AND MINISTRY
What does it mean to “surrender to ministry”? If you are like most people,
then for you the word ministry brings with it images of pulpits and baptistries,
libraries and seminary, mission trips and offerings, weddings and funerals. Why?
Because those who move most visibly in and around such places and events are
those whom we have formally named “ministers.” We categorize them according to
their duties: Minister of Music, Minister to Students, Minister of Education,
Minister of Administration, Children’s Minister and of course, Pastor, which we
know means Minister of Everything. Our consistent use of such titles, while
certainly appropriate and generally accurate, may be what encourages questions
such as, “What ministry are you going into?” when we really mean to ask,
“Where is it that you are going to carry out ministry?” It may also lead
some to believe that ministry is something only a select few believers are
called to carry out.
Read all of Hebrews 11 . Write in your
journal the names listed and any words or phrases that are repeated throughout.
Hebrews 11 records the stories of men and women who were used by God for His
purposes. Their submission to God influenced eternity. Go back through and
mentally list the best you can the occupations and/or titles held by these
people. How many of them would hold the title “minister” in today’s society?
If not a title, what enabled the ministry these men and women had been given
In our churches today, we refer to the ministers on our church staffs
collectively as “clergy” and to all other church members as “laymen.” The word
“laymen” comes from the Greek word “Laos.” One denotation, or definition, of the
word “Laos” is “a peopleÂ…who are of the same stock.” The “Laos” of the church,
then, are the “people of God,” making the term “layman” an affirming and
empowering name that all believers should be pleased to be known by. However,
most believers have never heard this definition, and, over time, for whatever
reason, the word “laymen” has taken on a slightly less encouraging connotation,
or implied meaning, hinting that “laymen” are, in fact, somehow less qualified
to carry out ministry or they are of a lesser station than “clergy.”
By the same token, the use of the word “clergy” to describe paid ministerial
church staff, to us may connote, or imply, that the person being described is
somehow more qualified to carry out ministry or of a more important station than
“laymen.” However, one denotation, or definition, of the word “kleros,” the
Greek word from which we derive the word “clergy,” is actually “a portion of the
ministry common to the apostles.” “Clergy,” then, are those who oversee a
portion of the ministry that is ours as believers such as the apostles did.
So, we see the original terminology for grouping members of the body of
Christ actually suggests that “clergy” are a subset of “laymen,” or a group
within a group, not necessarily more qualified to carry out the ministry of all
believers or more important than other believers, but instead unique in their
assignment to oversee and equip the people of God, or “laymen,” for that
ministry. Because of this specialization, members of the “clergy” carry a load
of responsibility on their shoulders that many of us would not desire on our
own, earning them respect and admiration that is certainly justifiable.
Whether carrying out the ministry of the “clergy” or “laymen,” all
believers are called to the ministry of Jesus Christ, their faith enabling them
to be used by Him.
Take a few moments and write your thoughts, concerns, and questions in your
journal. Allow the following thought suggestions to guide you.
What ministerial titles exist within your church or churches? How have these
titles influenced the way you view your calling?
Describe your thoughts and feelings as you read the explanation of the terms
“clergy” and “laymen.”
How is God speaking to you today? What is God teaching you about